Topic: Inclusion of Special Needs Children in the Classroom
I chose to do this topic because I have always felt a calling towards special needs children and I am also taking a course on special education and inclusion is a big thing that we discuss. Although I am not majoring in Special Education, I intend on working with children of special needs with speech. I hope to be a speech pathologist and specialize in working with autistic children. This is because my cousin, Luca, has autism and I want to be able to help children who are in the same situation as him.
I hope to gain a more in depth understanding of what it is like to have a disability as well as the steps to be taken into furthering the child’s knowledge from doing this project. It would be very useful for me to be able to better understand the mind of a child with special needs so that I could be more efficient in my career and so that my patients would be able to communicate their abilities to the world. I hope that readers of this can learn this as well so that they can better appreciate children of special needs and better know how to deal with them so that they can feel included and loved.
Sub-topics to be discussed in this project include:
- Laws Relating to Inclusion
- Benefits of Inclusion
- Classroom Set-up
- Case Studies and Examples
- Cautions with Inclusion
Laws Relating to Inclusion
The American with Disabilities Act claims that children with disabilities have the right to all child care facilities and that they cannot be left out in programs. These programs must accommodate children with disabilities so that they are able to participate. This involves inclusion because with these changes, students with disabilities are not to be left out or judged because of their situation.
Inclusion is also a major feature of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). This act ensures that students with disabilities receive a proper education and that all of their educational needs are satisfied. IDEA gives students the right to an equal educational opportunity so that they will not be looked down upon because of their disability, but rather as an important feature in the classroom environment. IDEA influences inclusion so that students with disabilities are able to obtain a proper and equal education.
Benefits of Inclusion
Inclusion is a crucial aspect for the education of children of special needs. I chose this topic because I have always felt drawn towards special needs children and i feel a calling towards working with children who have disabilities. Because of this, I feel that inclusion is very important within classrooms so that all children can feel included and be able to obtain an education. IDEA and its amendments has encouraged more and more special needs children to be included within the classroom and it has proven to be effective.
Inclusion of students of special needs has many benefits for students of special needs. With inclusion, students are able to make new friendships and form a sense of community within the classroom. Students of special needs are able to make more connections with not only the students but also with the staff of the school system as well. By working in a general curriculum classroom, students with disabilities are able to have role models for behavior, academic achievement, and social skills which often encourages them to accomplish their IEP goals and standards.
Inclusion in classrooms has not only benefited students of special needs, but also students who do not have special needs. With inclusion, students are able to be more aware and accepting of special needs children. Students are given the opportunity to better understand the material by practicing and teaching other student within the classroom which leads to higher academic performance.
For an inclusion classroom there should be minimal distractions such as decorations, posters and unnecessary objects around the class. This will help the students in general to focus on the subject being taught so that they can engage. Another aspect that may help is to pay attention to where the children of special needs are seated and try to place them in the front of the class so that they will be less likely to get distracted from other children in the classroom. The teacher may also want to have a very well planned class so that lessons can be very on point and organized. This may also include writing on the board what the students will be learning throughout the day this way they can prepare for the day ahead.
As far as how the content is taught, it may be easier for the children to learn if the teacher breaks assignments into smaller sections so that the students are less likely to get distracted. Another adaptation that teachers can make may be to provide presentations that are fun and interactive with the students so that they will want to pay attention and want to learn and have fun with it.
Cautions with Inclusion
In order for inclusion to work the teacher must be willing to restructure their entire classroom. Often students with disabilities will need extra help, assistive technologies and often more than one teacher. Creating an effective inclusion classroom takes a lot of hard work and willingness to change ones teaching methods. Consequently, taking on an inclusion classroom can become expensive and is not always a cost effective method of education. Another caution to take into account with inclusion is that the results are not always positive. The results of full inclusion with children of special needs often depends upon the student. Educators should be cautious when placing students into inclusion classrooms and be aware that the results may not always be positive.
Case Studies and Examples
There have been several examples and case studies about inclusion. There has been both positive and negative results from inclusion. In conclusion, it is just dependent upon the student and their situation to determine the success of inclusion
Case study one discusses a boy named Miguel who speaks both Spanish and english however, Spanish is his primary language. Miguel spends most of his time in the general classroom however, he has a paraprofessional for math who helps explain the topics to him. Miguel is seated at the front of the classroom next to a student who is able to speak both Spanish and English. This way, if Miguel has any trouble understanding the teacher, the student can help to translate for Miguel. Lessons are conducted in 1 hour blocks and students are seated in groups of four where they face each other. Miguel was able to be successful in this classroom setting because the teacher implemented good teaching strategies and was very clear and concise with her instructions. Also, Miguel was provided extra assistance with a paraprofessional which was key to his success in the general classroom. This demonstrates the positive aspects to inclusion.